10th Annual Dean’s Honor Awards Recognize Outstanding UAMS College of Medicine Faculty and Staff
APRIL 30, 2020 | The UAMS College of Medicine today announced its 10th annual Dean’s Honor Awards, recognizing exemplary faculty and staff for their work in education, research and clinical care as well as humanism and service to the college and its mission in Arkansas.
“Although we can’t gather in an auditorium and applaud our colleagues in person this spring due to COVID-19, our gratitude could not be stronger,” said Christopher T. Westfall, M.D., FACS, executive vice chancellor of UAMS and dean of the College of Medicine. “It is an honor and joy to work with these superb members of the College of Medicine team.”
The college’s signature annual awards include the Distinguished Faculty Service Award, which this year honors Robert W. Bradsher Jr., M.D., a professor of Internal Medicine who has held many leadership roles over the past four decades, including 32 years as director of the Division of Infectious Diseases.
Bradsher joined the faculty in 1980 and assumed leadership of the Infectious Diseases Division in 1986. He directed the Infectious Diseases Fellowship from 1986 to 2011, and led the division through 2018. Bradsher served as Program Director for the Internal Medicine Residency, one of the college’s largest, from 1994 to 2007. He was Vice Chair for Education in the Department of Internal Medicine from 1994 to 2019.
“Dr. Bradsher has helped train and mentor an entire generation of UAMS medical students, internal medicine residents and infectious diseases fellows, many of whom stayed in Arkansas to care for the people of our state,” wrote his nominators, Michael Saccente, M.D., professor and current director of the Division of Infectious Diseases, and James Marsh, M.D., professor and chair of the Department of Internal Medicine.
“Over the past 40 years, it is a rare medical student who did not have Dr. Bradsher as her or his attending physician,” Saccente and Marsh wrote. “It would be a rare community in Arkansas that does not have a physician that he directly supervised and trained.”
“The first real clinical experiences start in the third year of medical school,” Bradsher said in an interview conducted by email. “Some of my most rewarding moments have been observing the transformation of a junior medical student as he or she participates in taking care of an Internal Medicine patient in the hospital – taking a really full and thorough history; finding subtle physical signs on exam previously read about but never having seen; seeing and understanding the laboratory and radiology findings; reviewing medical textbooks and articles – all to make a tentative diagnosis and plan of treatment and being able to compassionately and competently relate that to a patient and family. I see the eyes of the student widen as they realize: this is what the satisfaction of being a doctor is like.”
College of Medicine classes have voted Bradsher as the most outstanding teacher of the year, presenting him the prestigious Golden Apple award, seven times. Graduating seniors have awarded him six Gold Sash awards as one of their top teachers throughout all four years of medical school. They have chosen him to address their class at Honors Convocation 11 times, and have invited him to place their doctoral hoods at an additional 10 Honors Convocation ceremonies. Bradsher has received the student-selected Red Sash award for teaching in 32 of his 40 years on the faculty.
Bradsher is also widely recognized for his contributions to clinical care and research. He is a leading authority in the field of fungal infections, particularly blastomycosis, an infection caused by breathing in microscopic fungal spores that live in the environment and can cause flu-like symptoms, and histoplasmosis, a similarly obtained infection that also causes severe symptoms in some patients. Bradsher and the late Robert Abernathy, M.D., a mentor during his training and early years at UAMS, defined the epidemiology of blastomycosis in Arkansas, conducted the first clinical trials of azole therapy for the infection, and provided cutting-edge care for patients with blastomycosis.
Bradsher is also known more broadly as a masterful practitioner of general infectious diseases and internal medicine. He received the Arkansas Chapter of the American College of Physicians (ACP) Robert S. Abernathy Award in 1996 and was inducted to Mastership in the national ACP in 2012. At UAMS, Bradsher received the Distinguished Faculty Award from the College of Medicine Alumni Association in 1994. He has served as the inaugural Richard V. Ebert Professor of Medicine since 1999. The College of Medicine presented Bradsher its Master Teacher Award in 2004, and he received the UAMS Chancellor’s Faculty Teaching Award in 2006.
The Pine Bluff, Arkansas, native received his undergraduate degree at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, in 1972 and his medical degree at UAMS in 1976. Bradsher interned and completed his residency in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He continued his training with a fellowship in infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.
The College of Medicine is proud to recognize the following additional 2020 honorees:
Alan Diekman, Ph.D
Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Nancy Rusch, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology
Charles O’Brien, Ph.D.
Professor, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine
Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award
Presented by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation
William Ventres, M.D., M.A.
Associate Professor, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine
Residency Educator Awards – Program Director
Erika Petersen, M.D., Neurosurgery Residency
Professor, Department of Neurosurgery
Residency Educator Awards – Program Coordinator
Program Coordinator, Pediatrics Residency
Department of Pediatrics
Staff Excellence Award – Education
College of Medicine
Staff Excellence Award – Research
Department of Psychiatry
Staff Excellence Award – Clinical
JoAnn Conley Cooper
UAMS Interventional Pain Clinic
Staff Excellence Award – Administration
Department of Anesthesiology
The College of Medicine also is pleased to honor the inaugural recipients of the Clinical Excellence Awards. The 2020 recipients were announced in December 2019.
Physician of the Year
Ashley Ross, M.D.
Associate Professor and Chief of Neonatology
Department of Pediatrics
Excellence in Service and Professionalism
Carly Eastin, M.D.
Departments of Emergency Medicine and Pediatrics
Excellence in Quality and Safety
Jennifer Laudadio, M.D.
Department of Pathology
Best Consulting Physician
Nithin Karakala, M.D.
Associate Professor, Division of Nephrology
Department of Internal Medicine
Clinical Collaborations and Teamwork
Michael Wilson, M.D., Ph.D.
Departments of Emergency Medicine and Psychiatry
Rising Stars Clinical Faculty (two honorees)
Mary Katherine “Katie” Kimbrough, M.D.
Associate Professor, Division of Trauma and Critical Care
Department of Surgery
André Wineland, M.D.
Assistant Professor, Division of Pediatric Otolaryngology
Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery
Faculty Promotions & Tenure
The College of Medicine congratulates faculty receiving promotion and tenure in 2020. A record 76 faculty members requested promotion in academic rank, and 100% of the requests were approved, a first since the college began tracking the metrics several years ago.